PMBOK Knowledge Areas

The 10 Knowledge Areas & 49 Processes (PMBOK®, 6th ed.)


The PMI framework of project management consists of 49 processes which are categorized in 10 knowledge areas as set out in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK, 6th edition; you can find it on Amazon). This is based on the philosophy that project management consists of a one-off and recurring processes for which the PMBOK describes common good practices.

When you are managing a project in line with the PMI methodology or when you are preparing for your CAPM or PMP certification exam, you will need to be familiar with these processes and knowledge areas.

This article provides you with an overview of the 10 knowledge areas and 49 processes in a nutshell (source: PMBOK®, 6th ed.)

Overview of the PMBOK Knowledge Areas

The following table contains the 10 knowledge areas and the 49 processes:

1) Project Integration Management Develop Project Charter;
Develop Project Management Plan;
Direct and Manage Project Work;
Manage Project Knowledge;
Monitor and Control Project Work;
Perform Integrated Change Control;
Close Project or Phase.
2) Project Scope Management Plan Scope Management;
Collect Requirements;
Define Scope;
Create WBS;
Validate Scope;
Control Scope.
3) Project Schedule Management Plan Schedule Management;
Define Activities;
Sequence Activities;
Estimate Activity Durations;
Develop Schedule;
Control Schedule.
4) Project Cost Management Plan Cost Management;
Estimate Costs;
Determine Budget;
Control Costs.
5) Project Quality Management Plan Quality Management;
Manage Quality;
Control Quality.
6) Project Resource Management Plan Resource Management;
Estimate Activity Resources;
Acquire Resources;
Develop Team;
Manage Team;
Control Resources.
7) Project Communications Management Plan Communications Management;
Manage Communications;
Monitor Communications.
8) Project Risk Management Plan Risk Management;
Identify Risks;
Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis;
Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis;
Plan Risk Responses;
Implement Risk Responses;
Monitor Risks.
9) Project Procurement Management Plan Procurement Management;
Conduct Procurements;
Control Procurements.
10) Project Stakeholder Management Identify Stakeholders;
Plan Stakeholder Engagement;
Manage Stakeholder Engagement;
Monitor Stakeholder Engagement.

Read on to find a short description of each of these processes “in a nutshell”.

1) Project Integration Management

Develop Project Charter

In this process, a project charter is developed that authorizes the project and links it with the strategic objectives of the organization.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Develop Project Management Plan

The content and goal of this process are defining, preparing and coordinating all plan components,

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Direct and Manage Project Work

This process comprises leading and performing the work that was defined in the project management plan as well as implementing approved changes,

Frequency: ongoing

Manage Project Knowledge

This process describes the use of existing and the creation of new pieces of knowledge in order to achieve the project objectives and support organizational learning.

Frequency: ongoing

Monitor and Control Project Work

In this process, the overall progress is tracked, reviewed and reported to meet the performance objectives defined in the project management plan.

Frequency: ongoing

Perform Integrated Change Control

The content of this process is reviewing all change requests, getting approval for changes, and managing changes to deliverables, documents and plans. This also includes the communication of those changes.

Frequency: ongoing

Close Project or Phase

In the ‘close’ process, all activities of a project, a phase or a contract are finalized. This includes archiving project or phase information as well as releasing team resources

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

2) Project Scope Management

Plan Scope Management

The goal of this process is to create a scope management plan that sets out the framework of the definition, validation and controlling of the project and product scope.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Collect Requirements

In this process, the determination, documentation, and management of stakeholder needs and requirements are performed in order to meet the project objectives. This process helps create the foundation of the project and product scope.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Define Scope

This process is about developing a detailed description of the project and product, incl. the result boundaries and acceptance criteria.

Frequency: n/a

Create WBS

Creating the work breakdown structure means breaking down project deliverables and project work into relatively small and manageable components.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Validate Scope

This process formalizes the acceptance of the completed project deliverables. It sets out the objectivity and the procedure of acceptance of the final product based on the acceptance of each deliverable.

Frequency: when necessary

Control Scope

This process sets out the monitoring of the project status and product scope as well as the management of changes to the scope baseline. It also ensures that the scope baseline is accurately maintained and updated ongoing.

Frequency: ongoing

3) Project Schedule Management

Plan Schedule Management

This process contains the establishment of policies, procedures, and documentation of the project schedule management.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Define Activities

In this process, the actions needed to produce the project deliverables are identified and defined.

Frequency: ongoing

Sequence Activities

This process comprises the identification and documentation of the relationships among the project activities.

Frequency: ongoing

Estimate Activity Durations

In this process, the durations to perform each activity are estimated.

Frequency: ongoing

Develop Schedule

When developing the project schedule, activity sequences, durations, resource requirements, and schedule constraints are taken into consideration.

Frequency: ongoing

Control Schedule

This process defines the monitoring of the project status in order to update the project schedule as well as the management of changes to the schedule baseline.

Frequency: ongoing

4) Project Cost Management

Plan Cost Management

This process is about defining the approaches and procedures to estimate, budget, manage, monitor and control project costs.

Frequency: n/a

Estimate Costs

In this process, an approximation of the cost of required resources is estimated.

Frequency: when necessary

Determine Budget

Aggregation of the estimated cost of all activities and work packages which is the foundation of the authorized cost baseline.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Control Costs

This process is about monitoring, managing and updating actual and planned project costs as well as the cost baseline.

Frequency: ongoing

5) Project Quality Management

Plan Quality Management

In this process, quality requirements and standards are identified. One of the outputs is the documentation of how they are maintained ongoing.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Manage Quality

This process is the transformation of the quality management plan into individual activities that incorporate the quality requirements/standards into the project. Thus, it facilitates achieving the quality goals and identifying ineffective processes and causes of poor quality.

Frequency: ongoing

Control Quality

The content of this process is the monitoring and controlling of the results of quality management activities. This also includes verifying that project deliverables and the project work are in line with the requirements for final acceptance.

Frequency: ongoing

6) Project Resource Management

Plan Resource Management

This process is about defining how the team and physical resources will be estimated, acquired, managed, and used during the project.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Estimate Activity Resources

This process contains the estimation of the team headcount and physical resources that are needed to perform project work.

Frequency: recurring, when necessary

Acquire Resources

In this process, team members are hired and on-boarded and physical resources are acquired. This includes the selection of sources as well as the assignment of resources to specific activities.

Frequency: when necessary

Develop Team

This process aims to improve skills and competencies, interactions and the environment of project teams in order to enhance the overall project performance.

Frequency: ongoing

Manage Team

This process includes performance tracking, feedback, and management of changes and adjustments to the project team.

Frequency: ongoing

Control Resources

This process helps ensure that the physical resources are available and utilized as planned. This may also include corrective actions if required.

Frequency: ongoing

7) Project Communications Management

Plan Communications Management

In this process, the approach and plan for project communications are developed. Thereby, stakeholders’ and the project’s information needs as well as available organizational assets are taken into account.

Frequency: recurring, when necessary

Manage Communications

Manage communications is the ongoing process of ensuring timely and appropriate communication in order to facilitate an efficient and effective information flow between the project team and stakeholders.

Frequency: ongoing

Monitor Communications

This process makes sure that the information needs of the project and the stakeholders are met properly and timely.

Frequency: ongoing

8) Project Risk Management

Plan Risk Management

This process comprises the planning of risk management activities for the project which includes tailoring of risk management considerations to the individual situation.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Identify Risks

This process focuses on identifying and documenting individual risks as well as sources of overall project risks.

Frequency: ongoing

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis

In the process of qualitative risk analysis, the probability and the potential impact of individual project risks are assessed, which is the basis for their prioritization.

Frequency: ongoing

Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis

This process consists of statistical analyses (e.g. Monte Carlo simulation) of identified individual project risks and other sources of ambiguity or uncertainty. This is typically not applied to small or less critical projects.

Frequency: ongoing

Plan Risk Responses

In this process, the ways to address overall and individual project risks are identified and assessed, incl. definition of activities as potential risk responses.

Frequency: ongoing

Implement Risk Responses

This process is conducted when risks require a response, i.e. the previously selected risk responses (activities) are implemented.

Frequency: ongoing

Monitor Risks

In this process, risk responses and identified risks are monitored and tracked. In addition, new risks are identified and assessed.

Frequency: ongoing

9) Project Procurement Management

Plan Procurement Management

Planning procurement management includes documenting the way project procurement decisions are made, specifying the approach and identifying potential sellers.

Frequency: once or at specified points during the project

Conduct Procurements

This process comprises selecting a seller and implementing the agreements and contracts for delivery.

Frequency: recurring, when necessary

Control Procurements

In this process, procurement relationships are managed and contract performance is monitored. This may also extend to changes and corrections as well as closing out contracts.

Frequency: when necessary

10) Project Stakeholder Management

Identify Stakeholders

This process implies identifying stakeholders and their respective interests, involvement, power, and potential impact on the project.

Frequency: recurring, when necessary

Plan Stakeholder Engagement

This planning process is about developing how to involve stakeholders and how to interact effectively with them during the project.

Frequency: recurring, when necessary

Manage Stakeholder Engagement

The management of stakeholder engagement includes communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs and expectations. The goal of this process is to ensure their support and reduce resistance from stakeholders.

Frequency: ongoing

Monitor Stakeholder Engagement

This process describes the monitoring of relationships and the adjustment of strategies in order to engage stakeholders in an optimal way.

Frequency: ongoing